Vegan hot dogs have had a rough start. Greyish logs of mystery not-meat have long haunted my barbecue escapades, and the “healthy” sections of grocery stores. Truthfully, when given the option, dog would always lose to veggie burger. Eight weeks ago, that all changed. Posing as a nonchalant food cart in St.Catharine’s, Ontario, Rescue Dogs is making vegan food accessible, affordable, and better than ever.
It doesn’t take long to fall in love with hot-dog slinger KW. Half the brains behind Canada’s first and only 100% vegan hot dog and street fare cart, he braves winter temperatures to serve up hot dogs and cool wit. If his daily proverbs (written on a chalkboard on his cart) don’t make you laugh, his Jigglypuff impressions will. His partner, Vic, runs the kitchen and can be found hosting Animal Voices, a too-cool animal liberation radio show. The two share a home with 4 cats, a dog, and if the adoption papers go through, a foster named Eva (that’s me).
Together, they have created a one-of-kind hot dog that’s hand-rolled with organic tofu, almond meal, and wheat gluten. Don’t ask about the spices though, that’s a highly guarded secret blend that took over nine years of testing before reaching perfection. To it, diners can add a variety of flavourful toppings, from homemade cheese sauce, to marinaded tempeh, aioli, and more. All of that love snuggles between the halves of some of the fluffiest vegan buns I’ve ever had, care of Beechwood Donuts (their St. Catharine’s neighbours). Those same toppings and buns comprise some killer sandwiches, but don’t go to Rescue Dogs without getting a dog first. Just get both.
And it’s not just a fun name – the team donate a portion of every sale to local animal shelters. Y’know, to rescue dogs. They are currently partnered with the Lincoln County Humane Society, but look forward to providing financial assistance to animals in need everywhere. You don’t need an excuse to buy a second lunch, but there you go!
To celebrate the relaunch of Ecorazzi, we stole KW from his street corner for the afternoon. He brought the full menu to our office space, and transformed our communal kitchen into an eclectic hub of conversation and bread-breaking. In that time, he shared his passion for Jurassic World, music, and roller derby with vegans and non-vegans who dared to wander upstairs to the wafting smells of lunch cooking. One after another, Monday drones turned into excited children, loading up their checkered boats with well-decorated dogs. While some may have argued ketchup over mustard, none argued that they’d had a better hot dog before. And only one wondered why they weren’t free.
In their young companies life, Vic and KW have already seen unbelievable success. In the incredibly supportive vegan community of St.Catharine’s, you can find their dogs being sliced up and served as pepperoni on the Rescue-roni pizza at Bella Noella’s, the same restaurant that hosted their launch. I won’t give away the secret plans they have in the works for further restaurant (and world) domination, but I will promise you that this is only the first time you’ll be reading about Rescue Dogs. Now if you don’t mind, I have leftovers barking at me.